Temperature: 17°C Clouds: Cloud and Visibility OK
Hi. You’ve probably noticed that Carniola has gone dormant. I don’t know when it will return, but I like to think that — like the glorious tick — it will sit quietly until the time comes to spring back into action and feast on the delicious blood of the blogging world.
I look forward to that moment.
Love and stuff,
The Glory of Carniola will return after the holidays. If you’re curious about the silence, read on!
Caffeine. That was the problem. A month ago I decided to give up soda (and junk food) for a while to see what would happen. Two interesting things happened: First, I lost nine kilograms. (~20 lbs) Second, I was no longer able to stay awake past 8 or 9 p.m.
Previously, 8 or 9 p.m. was the time when I would sit down and write posts. With the help of my doctor, I was able to go to sleep whenever I wanted. Now, a month later, my caffeine dependency finally (slowly!) seems to be waning. It’s 10 p.m. right now and my head isn’t fuzzy or aching and I’m awake. That’s a 30-day record. Still, I don’t feel like I’m in the best of shape. So I thought I’d sit back and wait. I have some ideas about radically changing this site, and I’ll be thinking about them over the Christmas holidays.
In the meantime, if anyone has any lucrative ideas about that (i.e. changing Carniola into a kick-ass link farm or something even scummier) please drop me a line. No, wait. On second thought, don’t.
See you soon!
A Beaver store in Japan. [source]
I’ve been busier than a Japanese beaver lately. I’ve also been too busy to write that I’m busy. Things should calm down soon, though.
A phone call from inside the WTC on September 11, 2001.
In spring of 2001, I was working at One World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. One day, while out for lunch with a colleague, we passed the Twin Towers and I remarked on how odd it was that someone thought they could actually knock them down. It seemed undoable. A few weeks later I was in Slovenia, and a few weeks after that, someone managed to pulverize both of them.
The question of who that “someone” was continues to rage on, despite all signs pointing to a band of al Qaeda jerk offs. Upon reading the latest Osama bin Laden transcript, I thought how odd it must be for him; he presumably masterminded the most lethal attack on the continental United States in its history — doing more damage than Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union combined — and yet Europeans think the CIA did it, Middle Easterners think the Jews did it, and Americans think Saddam Hussein did it.
This is the tragedy of our times: More information only seems to cause more ignorance. And, frankly, the 9/11 conspiracies are as dumb as they come. As Matt Taibbi brilliantly wrote last year:
“None of this stuff makes any sense at all. If you just need an excuse to assume authoritarian powers, why fake a plane crash in Shanksville? What the hell does that accomplish? If you’re using bombs, why fake a hijacking, why use remote-control planes? If the entire government apparatus is in on the scam, then why bother going to all this murderous trouble at all — only to go to war a year later with a country no one even bothered to falsely blame for the attacks? You won’t see any of this explored in 9/11 Truth lore, because the “conspiracy” they’re describing is impossible everywhere outside a Zucker brothers movie — unbelievably stupid in its conception, pointlessly baroque and excessive in its particulars, but flawless in its execution, with no concrete evidence left behind and tens of thousands keeping their roles a secret forever.”
That’s from the article The Hopeless Stupidity of 9/11 Conspiracies, which is like a great bulwark against the rising wave of paranoia — even if it won’t change your mind one way or the other. It’s still a spectacular read.
But that’s the mysterious thing. No matter how many respected and esteemed scientists come out and debunk the nonsense pitched forth by amateurs, nothing changes. Experts are either dismissed as being “in on it” or stupid sheeple and when arguing on the Internet, it’s the loudest people that win.
Note: I know that most of the Slovenes are now itching to get to the comments and tell me that I’m a brainwashed sheep and that there’s proof Bush chopped down both towers with an axe made from Kennedy’s skull and femurs. But while I do love free speech, I don’t love crazy and I will prune out comments if I get the feeling that Carniola is turning into some oasis of nutters. Just sayin’ is all.
This picture reminds me how much I miss sushi. (source)
To show solidarity with the rest of country, I’ll be off for the next few days.
Hey, they don’t call ‘em the dog days of August for nothin’…
Updates to follow.
UPDATE: Not unlike the Second World War, this blog will be unleashed on an unhappy world on September 1. But since that’s a Saturday, I’ll get back into the swing of things on Monday.
Protesters have had enough of this site.
I know, I know. When bloggers are away, readers will stray. Even The Wall Street Journal knows it. But I have family in town and must attend to them. Besides, I don’t think there’s anyone left in the entire country at this point. I walked around Maribor this weekend and it was absolutely dead quiet with nary a soul to be seen.
But no matter what others may say, I’m not dead. I will return
MondayTuesday. Cuz it’s hot. Or something.
I’m off to the Adriatic for a few days, followed by a visit to Berlin for a few days. Back soon.
There are a lot of summaries of the big blogging conference floating around so I’ll just quickly throw in my thoughts. First, I felt a bit uneasy before my turn at the podium. I arrived at about 10:15 a.m., meaning that the first presentation had already begun. I didn’t want to barge in so I quietly sat and watched the in-house feed. What I saw was a very professional-looking powerpoint presentation. I’ve never made a powerpoint file in my life, so I started feeling a bit anxious about the thing I had brought along. But what really spooked me was the next speaker, who made a few offhanded jokes and was met with silence. As in total silence. Not even a polite “heh” or anything. It was clear that this wasn’t just a tough audience; it was a brutal audience. And I was next.
A few things helped me calm down before I walked in. First, the organizers were great — especially Lea, who was supremely patient with me. (I learned on Wednesday that the deadline to turn in your presentation was Wednesday. I had nothing ready and at the time still didn’t know how to use powerpoint. Thank God for caffeine.) Second, I bumped into Borut, who exudes this it’s-all-good vibe wherever he goes. That helped. And third, I noticed Mare checking in, said hello, and was flattered to hear that he had come to see me. (Thankfully he also wasn’t disappointed, although I absolutely agree that my ending should have had more punch. This is a recurring problem of mine. Not sure what to do about it.)
Overall, I was surprised at how well it went. And I was relieved that I wasn’t met with stony silence, because that would have been just plain awful. I don’t think any of the presentations will be available anywhere, but if they are I will post them here.
Afterwards, I had a chance to briefly meet and greet some good folks like had, Klemen (whose pictures of the event are here), hirkani, and others. I then stepped out for a ménage-à-trois (minus the ménage) with Pengovsky and Poulette. We sat and drank for hours and although we took an oath of secrecy about the contents of our conversation, I will say this: Poulette is as cool and classy as her blog makes you think she is, and Pengovsky is more knowledgeable than the Slovenian wikipedia. It was, in a word, awesome.
We returned to see some more presentations, both of them good: One by Baya and one by Lesjak’s replacement. And that was it. I missed nymphee, unfortunately, and I missed sunshine (we walked right past each other without a glimmer of recognition) and many others.
I wish I knew of a stronger way to end this post but I don’t.
Thanks to everyone who came and thanks to the organizers for having me!
Move over Congress of Vienna: this Saturday Ljubljana is hosting the first official gathering of bloggers in Slovenia. There are a number of workshops planned; there will also be a ton of lectures, ranging from subjects like “Blog ethics,” “Blogs in the political sphere,” “Blogs as a medium” and a lecture by me entitled:
“You Know That Dude that Natalija Verboten is Currently Together With — Don’t You Think She’s Making a Huge Mistake with Him? I Mean, Seriously, I Don’t Want to Sound Like I’m Envious of His GODDAMN Happiness But Don’t You Think He’s a Perfect Candidate for a Crushing by Elephant?”
At least, that’s what I wanted my lecture to be about. The organizers rejected it — probably for no other reason than the fact that I’m a foreigner. It’s a shame because I already have 18 hours worth of usable notes scribbled in various notebooks, including a 5000-stanza epic poem. It’s set in 17th century India and it’s about this beautiful young princess who sings turbo-folk songs and is blissfully happy until the day her boyfriend is tragically crushed by a runaway elephant. The first half of the poem mostly just describes the elephant smooshing in very vivid detail. It’s kind of gross. But the second half deals with the distraught princess finding consolation and peace with a mysterious young American explorer who is searching for a cure for super AIDS in the jungle but decides to give it up so that he can build the Taj Mahal for her using only his bare, manly hands. It’s great stuff; definitely Hollywood (or Bollywood) material.
But I suppose that will have to wait for next year. This year, it will have to be something else. So, at 11:15 a.m. this Saturday in Ljubljana, right before the coffee & cookie break, I’ll be talking about the foreign media, bloggers, and their Herculean struggle for Slovenia’s image.
My first point will be to attack the foreign press like a runaway elephant for its generally sloppy and clichéd reporting on Slovenia. I will then use many curse words and will give many depressing examples (many never seen here) of how unprofessional many professional journalists really are. I will then suggest that blogs (with the notable exception of this one) are stepping into the gaping void left behind by the rampant closing of foreign bureaus. I will try to convince you that they have the potential of providing a truer image of the country. And I will try my best not to sound like too much of a dickhead while doing this.
If none of the above makes any sense to you, please come on out on Saturday and let me try again when I’m not so dog-tired. I should also mention that there’s lots of good stuff going on during the day: here’s a schedule of events. By the looks of it, some delicious people are coming. I do know that, among the speakers, Lesjak won’t make it, which is a shame. Jani Sever will be there, though, which means that everyone at the conference can count on being put on a government “watch list.”
Anyway, I’m looking forward to meeting you there!
This video of Beryl on Ubuntu tempted me to join the dark side.
There’s been a lot of hype recently surrounding Ubuntu (”Linux for humans”) so last week I decided to give it a try. I’ve been using XP for a few years now without any troubles, but I noticed that I’ve been naturally gravitating towards open-source programs, like Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC, and many more… Switching the OS seemed like a natural next step.
That was my first mistake. I assumed that Ubuntu would be like, say, Firefox. That it would somehow be more efficient, faster and easier to use. Unfortunately, it is not. My second mistake was thinking that my long years with XP (and before that my years with a Mac, an Amiga, and even an Atari 800) would somehow be of some use to me. Unfortunately, they were not. My third mistake was in thinking that I could fight my way up the steep learning curve and come out on the other side triumphant. Unfortunately, I could not. After a week of slogging through every kind of tedious problem, I gave up and went back to XP.
I didn’t want to. I was even ready to make some sacrifices. For example, the impetus for my switch was seeing the beryl video above — but my graphic card was listed as being unsupported. I decided to keep on trucking anyway. (As a sidenote: the installation instructions for beryl are a prime example of what’s wrong with Linux. If you use Windows, then you probably know that installing a program means double-clicking on a file, clicking “next” a few times, choosing where to save it, and maybe deciding what parts you want installed. Now go check the instructions for installing Beryl. Keep in mind that that’s page one of three.
I know that Linux is touted as giving you greater control and everything, but to me it’s like someone wanting to drive one of those old cars with hand cranks because you get better “ignition control.”
In the meantime, my problems continued: Firefox looked uglier and lagged when dealing with flash files; audio sometimes crackled and sometimes didn’t; some programs weren’t showing up in the menus as they should; turning on desktop effects turned the screen entirely white; and online help guides were a giant convoluted mess — you would find solutions applicable to previous versions of Ubuntu, or text that read like it had been wrung through babelfish a few times. When Firefox inexplicably crashed on me, I knew it was over.
It wasn’t a total loss. For one, I learned that Linux is not quite for humans. And for another: It was a worthwhile experience for its own sake. If anyone’s interested, this page has tips on how to make Windows more Linux-like, including improvements like adding multiple workspaces and the free ObjectDock.